Ellis: Emerson Wolves ― Paranormal Wolf Shifter Romance (2 page)

BOOK: Ellis: Emerson Wolves ― Paranormal Wolf Shifter Romance
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Dawn wanted to cry. She didn’t, but she wanted to. When they pulled up in front of the little house, she wanted to beg Addie to let her stay there forever. As they moved to the house, Dawn held her chains to her, wondering if this was all a scam and her uncle was going to be in there waiting for her. Addie turned to her before she opened the door.

“No one is here. I swear to you, so long and you don’t leave this area, he won’t find you.” Dawn nodded. “I’m going to let you in, then go to the barn. There should be something in there we can use to get these off you. Go ahead and look the place over, and we’ll see what you need to keep you safe for a while.”

The house was huge in comparison to the one she had lived in, with two bedrooms on the second floor and one on the bottom. The kitchen was outdated, but it had a big stove and oven and a nice refrigerator. There was a tall freezer in a sort of walk in room with no door, as well as a washer and dryer. It, too, was outdated and had a strange smell when she’d opened it, but it was nothing she couldn’t clean up. Everything needed a good scrubbing, but Dawn was used to hard work.

When Addie came back in, she had some tools and what looked like a small saw. As Dawn was told to have a seat, Addie gave her some information about the house. “The linens are in a large plastic tote in each bedroom closet. I think there are some quilts there too, but I’m not sure. I’ll bring you heavier blankets if you need them the next time I come here. There are cleaning supplies, I think, under the sink, as well as pots and pans. There are other things you might need in boxes in the pantry over there.”

Dawn looked in the direction she nodded to as the small saw was turned on. When Addie put it against the metal on the first shackle, Dawn nearly told her not to do it, but then the heavy weight hit the floor. “That was easy.”

Cutting off the other shackle on her ankle was just as quick, but the one at her neck took a bit longer. Not that it was any thicker, but Addie was afraid of cutting her. Dawn told her she’d gladly leave it on herself just to be able to walk around without tripping over the chain, but an hour after starting, Dawn was free.

She wanted to shift and run free. Do something that she’d not been able to do for over two years. Her other self seemed to know that she was free as well, and moved along her skin like it was ready to be out. Dawn calmed her by saying that they would run as much as they wanted soon.

Addie told her she’d be back in the morning, but for Dawn to hide when she saw her car until she saw Addie. Her car was sometimes used by other people, and she didn’t want her seen.

“There’s a man that works for me—he and his wife really. They are Bill and Carrie Price. He might bring you things when I can’t, all right?” Dawn nodded. “Only them. And here’s what they look like so you know to trust them.”

After showing her the picture of the couple, Addie moved around the house with her, pointing out things that might need a once over and where to find things that were not readily available. Then when they were in the living room again, the furniture now uncovered of the heavy plastic, Dawn turned to her again.

“Why are you doing this? You don’t have to, and I’m pretty sure that you have better things to do than to help a runaway, even one as old as I.”

Addie nodded and looked around the house before she answered her. “My dad is sick. Dying. He has cancer, and he’s been told he only has a few years left at most. I might…would it be all right if I come out here and just unload on you once in a while? Not often, but sometimes?” Dawn nodded. “Then that’s why I’m doing it…along with the fact that no one should have to be treated as you’ve been without someone helping them out.”

“I don’t know what to say. I mean, thank you seems so little for what you’ve given me.” Addie nodded and turned to the door again. “This thing you can do with my mind…can you do it to everyone?”

Yes. I’ll check on you once in a while this way too. You won’t know it, but I’ll do it.
Her voice echoed in her mind, and Dawn thought it wonderful.
You should be able to do it as well. Just think of me and we can talk. You can tell me when you’re having troubles this way as well.

I’ve never done this before.
Addie laughed, and so did Dawn. It was strange to hear the sound coming from her mouth too.
You’ll be safe now, right? I mean, I don’t want anyone to hurt you now that you’ve been so kind to me.

I will, and you will too. Don’t come out of the house, or wherever you decide to hide, unless you see that it’s me.
Dawn asked her how long she could stay there.
For as long as you desire. Forever if you want.

Dawn nodded, not sure if she could believe her or not. After Addie made her way out to the car, she pulled things from her trunk and handed them to Dawn. What Dawn couldn’t carry, Addie sat on the porch. Not even looking into the bags, Dawn had gone into the house to put the first load on the table when she heard the engine roar to life, then gravel crunch in the drive. By the time she came back out to tell her good-bye, Addie was gone.

Unpacking the bags, Dawn was surprised to see all the food. There were things that had to be put in the freezer, and even though she’d not had time to clean it, Dawn put them inside with the plastic bags still around them. Milk and eggs, too, had to be put into the fridge, but she knew that it was going to be the first thing she cleaned.

Pulling out the cleaning supplies that had been in the large pantry, Dawn got to work. While she did this, she thought of all the things she’d have to do before going to bed. It wasn’t as daunting as it would have been had she been at her relatives’ place, but exciting. Almost fun.

It took her nearly five hours to get the place clean, and that was only the kitchen and the bedroom she was going to use. Crawling into the bed, bathed and with a pretty night gown on, Dawn decided that she’d have to figure out a way to pay Addie back.

For the next few days, she cleaned and aired the house out. There wasn’t any television, but she didn’t care. Dawn hadn’t watched much before and doubted she’d miss it now. Mr. Bill came by twice…once with his wife just to meet Dawn, then the second time to bring her more food. She had so much that she spread it out on the counter and just looked at it. And he’d brought her a loaf of homemade bread, as well as some scones. Dawn cried for an hour after he left, not believing that someone could be so nice to her.

Dawn started making lists of things she needed to pay Addie back for. First was food and clothing. Then there was the cell phone she had for emergencies. Bill told her he’d call her when he was coming out so she’d know to watch for him. He’d brought her a radio, too, and some music to listen to. All in all, Dawn had it better than she’d ever had in her entire life. And all thanks to a perfect stranger.

Dawn was happy…happier than she’d ever thought she’d be. As she sat down to her meal, the first in her wonderfully clean house, she dined on the bread and some soup while classical music played softly in the background. After that she went into the yard, stripped down, and turned into her wolf. As she ran deep into the woods, ever careful of her surroundings, Dawn knew that if she had to go back now after her taste of freedom, she surely would die.

Chapter 1

 

Present day

Ellis decided that if one more thing went wrong today he was surely going to use the nail gun he was holding right now on someone. If he could ever get the fucking thing to work. He stretched his neck again, trying his best to get the stiffness out of it, but there was just no hope for it. He was going to be in a shitty mood for the rest of his life. Ellis glanced up when he heard someone clear their throat, and wasn’t surprised—not really—to see his dad there.

“Don’t even start.” His dad said nothing, which for some reason pissed him off more. “Christ, I’m in charge here. Did everyone forget that when they woke the hell up this morning?”

“No. I’m pretty sure they know who the one who yells at them is. You got a perfect handle on that.” His dad came to where Ellis was standing and watched him work on the gun. “What’s it doing?”

“Nothing. Not a damned thing. It’s loaded, the power is on, but it’s simply not fucking working.” The hand to the back of his head did nothing to improve his sour mood. “Dad, perhaps it would be better if you, like the rest of the people I know, just left me alone.”

“It’s unplugged.” Ellis looked at his dad, then down at the gun. It was plugged in. He’d set the extension cord to it himself. “Won’t work because there is no power to it. How many times I gotta tell you to check the simplest problems first?”

Mumbling to himself, he slammed the gun down to go and prove to his dad that it fucking had power. As soon as he got to the junction, he simply sat down on the nearest roll of conduit. Not only was it unplugged, but someone had coiled up the extension cord into a neat circle and put it on the floor next to several others. His dad came into the room with him and leaned against the wall, just staring at him for several minutes before Ellis finally spoke.

“I’ve been having trouble sleeping. And when I do sleep, it’s to have the same dream over and over. A woman. I can’t save her from someone and she’s killed. It’s all my fault too, and she tells me that right before she bleeds out.” Dad asked him who she was. “I don’t know her. Never see her face or anything about her other than that she’s tall and slim.”

Ellis thought of the woman in the woods, the one he’d been trying to find for nearly a month of going up there on weekends and coming back exhausted and pissed. It was her. He had no idea why he knew it was, but as surely as he was sitting here, it was her.

“It’s your mate.” He nodded. “You know this? And you don’t have a clue who she is? Ellis, you have to find her. It’s making you crazy.”

“Don’t you think I know that?” He looked around when he realized how loud he’d been. “I know that’s who it is. But what the hell am I supposed to do if I can’t find her? And trust me, I’m trying.”

“Where did you see her first? In your dreams, where is she?” Ellis looked at his dad, then back at his feet. He was ashamed to admit even to him that he’d fucked this up. “Ellis, I’m going to help you.”

Before he could answer him, Jarrett came in the room with them. He was dressed for work, wearing his new polo shirt with the name Emerson Computer blazed over the left pocket, along with the logo that Jack had made for him just recently. He looked like something was wrong, and Ellis stood up to go and kill whatever was bothering him.

“I need your help. Well, Addie does. I have…it’s the strangest thing I’ve ever asked you to do.” Ellis doubted that. When they’d been kids, Jarrett was the one who usually came up with a plan that would get them all in hot water. “I need just you and a couple of men you can trust to go to a house on the property at the big house.”

Ellis knew every bit of the property up at the house that Jarrett and Addie kept to get away. There was a pool house, a barn that held nothing more than a few pieces of lawn equipment yet was big enough to hold a plane, and a shed closer to the house that looked like it had been built before the house.

“Which one?”

Jarrett looked around, then stepped more into the room they were in. He looked around again and had him and Dad doing the same.

“It’s nearly at the end of the property, like butt up against the end. A woman lives out there that doesn’t like people overly much. Addie said she’s lived there for nearly eight years, and she’s been all alone all this time. But something happened to the roof, and it needs to be fixed.” Ellis nodded, thinking of the three people that he’d send up there. He’d had enough of roaming the woods up there to know that the woman he was looking for was long gone. “She asked that you go too.”

“I have a business to run.” Jarrett nodded but said nothing. “I have to finish up here, Jarrett. I’m only three days ahead of schedule now. I need to be here to make sure that my men get the bonus.”

“Yeah, I guess Sloan is wanting you to go up there too, and said that she’d give you an extension of a week. She also said that she didn’t think you’d need it, but she’s offering.” Ellis knew when he’d been had, and this was it big time. “It’s important to Addie, and when it’s important to her, it’s important to me.”

“Pussy.” Jarrett nodded and smiled. “I really don’t want to do this; you know that, right?”

“I do, but Addie said it was important to her, and when you have a mate, you’ll understand how it becomes important to you.” Ellis didn’t look at his dad, but he knew he was staring a hole in the back of his head. “She said to make use of the house as you want. There is staff there to wait on you hand and foot. But make sure that whoever you take is going to be trustworthy. I guess this woman, whoever she is, has someone chasing her.”

Ellis said he’d go. And he didn’t have any problem picking out the three men that would go with him. The problem he had was that his dad wanted to go. Telling him no was going to be too much effort, so he said he could go as well as part of the crew. Their dad could work as well as, if not better than, most of the men working for him. Ellis went to find Dan to tell him what was going on.

“Good.” Ellis cocked a brow at him. “No offense, Emerson, but with the mood you’ve been in lately, I’ll be glad to see the ass end of you for a few days. Might even get this project done if you’re not here. Maybe you could, I don’t know, get laid or something while you’re gone. Might loosen you up a little.”

Ellis wanted to be pissed, but he knew his mood and thought perhaps Dan was right. Not about getting laid, but that they might get done sooner. In the last five days, he’d messed up something major twice. Tearing it out to start over was what had put them only three days ahead of schedule and not the desired week.

The plane was ready to go within the hour. They were planning to buy the supplies they needed when they got there, but the men with him had brought their own things they liked to use. His dad had a hammer, a gift from their mom their first Christmas together as man and wife. Billy had a single screwdriver. It was cheap and would more than likely break the first time he set it to a screw, but his kid had given it to him for Father’s Day one year, and he’d not had the heart to tell them he had better.

Ellis had a little level, which wasn’t much use either. It was barely on point, and when you bumped it, even slightly, it would have five little bubbles in it rather than just the one. But he loved it. It was special to him because, like his dad’s hammer, his mom had given it to Ellis. He’d been five, and it had been the best gift he’d gotten that birthday.

As soon as they landed, Bill met them at the airport. He’d come up the week before to see to the house, getting it ready for Easter. They were all coming up in two weeks to stay there and to celebrate the holiday as a family. Everyone was excited because it really was an amazing house.

“I’ve made arrangements with Miss Dawn. She’s left the area and will await you all leaving before she returns. She is not much of a people person.” Ellis nodded and decided that he might enjoy living that way, all alone, with no one to bother him. “You have been made aware that no one is to mention the house or where it is, correct?”

“Yes. I had a long conversation with Addie just before we left. She said that for eight years, this woman has been on her own without much contact with anyone.” Bill nodded, and Ellis could see the sadness on his face. “Is she running from an abusive husband?”

“No. But the person chasing her is related to her.” Bill turned to the woods before he spoke again. “She’s a shifter and has been sorely abused, Ellis. I think…when I first met her all those years ago, I thought her to be much younger than she was. Silly she was, dancing about the house showing us what she’d done to make it right. But I found out from Miss Addie that she’d been chained to the wall, a shackle around her neck and legs so that she couldn’t leave or shift. It nearly made her insane with it. Then she was free and it made her…giddy, I suppose would be a good word for it. But she’s changed so much now.”

Ellis waited for him to continue, but when he didn’t, Ellis asked. He didn’t want to take his men into a situation that was going to get any of them hurt. But Bill only shook his head and told him it wasn’t that.

“She’s lonely, I think. But I doubt she understands that is all it is. When I go to see her, bring her things that she might need, she talks a mile a minute, yet seems to want me gone at the same time. I fear, sir, that she’s becoming afraid of her own shadow. She talks of a man that comes to the woods searching, and she said he’ll find her soon enough.”

Ellis had no idea why, but he knew it was him. The woman was talking about him. He never thought…never really cared that he might frighten someone else when he’d been up there all the time. Finding the woman that haunted him was his only goal. And he’d never thought of what it might do to others around the area to see him or to smell his wolf.

Going to the site was a job. Traveling by truck through the dense forest had him so beaten around in the truck that when he finally got to the house, he was ready to shift and take care of the bumps and bangs he’d gotten. But they’d had to come from the backend of the property and not the front so as not to disturb the drive in. This was getting stranger and stranger all the time.

~~~

Dawn watched them from her perch on the tree. Only recently had she been playing with shifting into other animals, and had found that the big falcon was her favorite, next to the wolf. She loved the freedom of them all. And she also liked being able to change what she looked like.

They were walking around the side of the house where the tree had come down on her room during the storm yesterday. The big man looked like he was in charge, and an older man seemed to be ordering the people around. She could see that they were related because they looked like each other a great deal. The two men with them seemed to be hanging onto their every word, so she knew that things would be taken care of soon.

Flying to the big house, she made her way to the room that Bill had said she could use. The window being open made it easier for her to move in and out of the house without anyone seeing her, and she liked that just fine.

Dawn knew that she was being somewhat of a recluse. Well, really, she supposed that she was. People made her nervous, and when she made her way into town, which she did weekly now, she tried to avoid them as much as possible.

Going into town to get her own food had been an experience. The first time she’d done it a few years ago, she’d been terrified out of her mind that someone would tell her aunt and uncle where she was. But no one had noticed her or, for that matter, even looked at her twice. She’d done her shopping, buying things that she couldn’t grow, and then left. She’d been making herself do it weekly, even if it was to just get her mail.

Shifting again, she stood in the big bedroom and looked around. It was lovely, the colors bright and friendly. Books were neatly stacked on the shelves, and she saw a few that she’d not read yet. Making a mental note to ask Bill if she could take them back with her, she sat on the chair and opened her computer.

Dawn had been very successful with her vegetable garden for years now. She hadn’t been at first, only growing enough to make her frustrated, and even then the vegetables weren’t all that good when she’d cooked them. The second year, Carrie had come to help her get started, showing her what to plant, where, and how much fertilizer to put on each plant. She’d been just sticking things in the ground where she had room and had not just crowded things out, but had over-fertilized them as well.

Ordering seeds that she’d like to plant, Dawn closed down her computer and sat watching the woods behind the house. Making a note to tell Bill that the seeds would be coming here cash on delivery, Dawn laid out the money she’d put aside for the order. She thought about the dreams she’d been having about the man in the woods.

He’d been in her thoughts a great deal. Not that she’d ever seen him very much, but she could smell him when she went to the woods. He was a wolf, someone that she was sure had been hired by her uncle to find her. But there was something so calming about him. He was lovely to look at, and he seemed…intense was a good word.

Dawn had gone to see her relatives a few times recently…not to see them, but to see if they were still around. Neither of them seemed to be working, and the house was in such bad repair that Dawn was surprised to see that it was still standing after last night. But it was, and there didn’t seem to be any damage done to it that would have made it any worse. The cars were now overgrown with grass that had been there since she’d been brought to them. And the two recliners that had always been on the porch had been replaced with lawn chairs.

BOOK: Ellis: Emerson Wolves ― Paranormal Wolf Shifter Romance
9.06Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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